UNIQLO’s UK chief operating officer has described the Japanese fashion retailer’s new store in Edinburgh, which opens tomorrow, as close to his heart and expressed excitement about expanding into a “new country”.

He would not be drawn on speculation that UNIQLO might be looking at opening a store in Glasgow, or on the question of whether the Edinburgh launch would be followed by other new outlets in Scotland.

Alessandro Dudech told The Herald: “This has been a particularly busy month. This is the second store we have opened in the month of April. We have just come from London, where we have opened our One Oxford Street (store). This [Edinburgh] store is particularly close to my heart because we are opening in a new country.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Major global fashion brand’s arrival huge boost for Scottish city

“There is a...view of the Old Town. There is clamouring for us to come and now finally the day has come.”

Asked about whether UNIQLO might open in Glasgow, Mr Dudech said: “Obviously you can imagine right now we are focusing on Edinburgh. We are tremendously excited to be opening in Edinburgh, in Scotland, a new country for us.”

On the question of whether the store on Edinburgh’s Princes Street would be followed by other Scottish outlets, he replied: “Obviously you can imagine this is the first store in Scotland so we are all very excited to see how the customers will react. We are laser-focused to make sure we have the best experience for us.

“It is really a moment where we get to make a first impression. First impressions can be so important in establishing a relationship of trust. We want to be 100%-focused on this project. Hopefully, by creating a relationship of trust, we will be able to foster a long-term relationship. That is really our goal – make customers happy.”

Asked if he believed the Princes Street outlet would prove to be a destination store, attracting customers from outwith Edinburgh, Mr Dudech replied: “I hope so because we worked quite hard.”

Noting UNIQLO already had an ecommerce platform which Scottish customers could access, Mr Dudech added: “We have already been able to engage and connect with Scottish customers. It also guided some of our choices with what product will appeal.

“It also helped us gain confidence with how much the Scottish online market was growing.”

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Those who caused sick-note Britain continue to coin it in

Noting the scale of social media reaction to UNIQLO’s Edinburgh store opening, he said: “That gives you a lot of confidence.”

Mr Dudech noted there would be special offers with the Edinburgh store opening.

He flagged a “four seasons in one day concept” in the new store, which had arisen partly from discussions with staff and customers.

Mr Dudech noted there were linen collections when entering the store, then rainproof ranges, then summer t-shirts, and then products including cashmere.

He flagged a partnership with Social Bite, the Scottish charity and social business which describes itself as a “movement to end homelessness” providing “homes, jobs, food, and support to empower people to transform their own lives”.

And he noted that “every single” member of staff in the Edinburgh store had had an opportunity to volunteer at Social Bite.

Mr Dudech added that he had the “privilege” to volunteer at Social Bite on Tuesday afternoon.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: A truly terrifying Tory proposition

He also flagged an “opportunity for Social Bite to give employment in our store”.

Mr Dudech declared he was “excited” by a partnership with Irn-Bru, the soft drink produced by AG Barr.

This will see the UNIQLO store in Edinburgh offer embroidered t-shirts and bags in partnership with Irn-Bru.

Highlighting UNIQLO’s drive to connect with “local communities”, Mr Dudech added: “What better way to do this than a household name such as Irn-Bru?”

Asked how long UNIQLO had been looking at opening in Edinburgh, Mr Dudech said: “Our opening strategy…when we open a store especially of this size, 1,400 square metres, we don’t just go anywhere. We are very careful in selecting buildings.”

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: This may stick in craw of those who would do Scotland down

He highlighted the importance of cultural heritage, from historical and architectural perspectives.

Mr Dudech noted the building housing the new store had been designed in its current form around six decades ago.

He said: “In the store, we have really tried to stay true to the heritage of the building.”

The modernist retail space was designed by Johnson-Marshall and Partners in 1965.